"Three Books ..." is a series in which we invite writers to recommend three great reads on a single theme.
Once — just once — I persuaded my wife to go sailing with me. We were in northern Poland and, for just $8, I rented a gorgeous wooden sailboat. It looked as if it had been preserved for decades in a giant glass bottle.
"Can you sail it?" inquired my wife.
"Dude," I told her. "No problem."
Jake Halpern is the author of Fame Junkies and Braving Home. If and when he ever does get shipwrecked, his first course of action will be to comb the beach for jetsam. He is far less interested in flotsam.
This, of course, was a lie. We were barely 50 feet from shore when a howling headwind blew us back against the rocks. We survived — narrowly. Afterward my wife quipped that it was almost as if I had wanted to shipwreck us. She may have been right.
Ever since I was a kid I've longed to be a castaway. I memorized facts about the Bermuda Triangle, learned to distinguish between flotsam and jetsam, and watched Gilligan's Island with cultlike devotion.
My parents were landlubbers — their notion of nautical adventure was ordering shrimp scampi at Red Lobster — and so I sailed the high seas in books. Here are my three favorites.